Chapter 25:

Cats And Bouquets

Corruptions Are Best Exposed In The Autumn!

It was already December, but unlike last year, only the sounds of rain splashes filled the air outside Muller’s Blend. While Lily, Gio and Rin got to attend her funeral, Mila’s parents personally wrote me an email, asking me not to attend.

Man, this sucks…

It was almost closing time, but since most customers came earlier on Mondays, it had been awfully quiet since mid-afternoon. Well, at least until now.


In walked Eleanor, who was followed by a bodyguard dressed in a black suit and sunglasses. She would make a visit once every two or three days, asking if I wanted to move into their mansion. This only started happening because I told her I’d consider the marriage proposal with her family, and ever since then, it’s been nonstop persistence.

“Good afternoon, Kai,” she greeted me while I was behind the counter. Because I was now a manager, I opted to wear a light dress shirt with black trousers but told Lily and Charles they could come in wearing whatever they wanted.

“Hey Eleanor, uh, do you need something?” I asked.


She reached into her pink purse and pulled out an envelope. I raised my eyebrows as I recognized it right away: the letter I tried sending to Mila 5 years back.

“M-My letter!”

“Since she’s already gone, I’ll return this to you,” she pouted, and gave it to me. I picked it up from the counter and observed how clean and white the paper still was.

“Thanks, I guess.”

She was right; there was no point in getting it back from her anymore since Mila had passed away. But since I told Eleanor that I was considering her marriage proposal, perhaps she was returning the letter to me as my “reward.”

“Huh?” I glanced and ran my fingers along the edges of the paper. Even though our names were still written on the front…

Why does this seem like it was recently sealed?

Despite the letter being 5 years old, the way it was freshly sealed made it seem suspicious. Did she recently reseal it?

“Anyways,” I placed the letter on the counter and picked up another document which sat right next to the cash register. “I’ll go over this marriage registration form and let you know my decision by the end of the day. Does that work?”

I couldn’t even look her in the eyes as I said that, and Eleanor took notice.

“Hmph, okay. I’ll be waiting then.”

As Eleanor and her bodyguard exited the café, I sighed and looked down at the registration form again.

Am I really okay with this? I thought. Whenever my eyes hovered over something like this, all I could think about was that one moment of aid from Rin:

“It wasn’t him that tampered with our matches, and it’s not his fault for having all that debt either. Go to the café and talk to him! See how he reacts! And then decide if he’s a loser or not by yourself, not just by assuming!”

Fuck, not again. I need to forget about her…

Ever since reappearing again in my life over a month ago, I just couldn’t get Rin Miya out of my mind. Now that the store had closed, not a single sound chimed into my ears except the ticking of the wall clock.

Ring ring!

My phone buzzed in my pocket, tickling my thighs. I quickly pulled it out to look at who was calling me, and became puzzled - the caller ID shown on screen read:

Lily Meyer

“Wait, why is she calling me? Shouldn’t they be having their funeral service right now?”

The phone continued ringing for what seemed like a minute until I finally decided to pick it up and answer.


“Kai,” an unknown voice bounced into my ear instead of Lily’s, and I twitched in surprise.

“Yes? Sorry, who is calling?”

“This is Mila’s mother. Please come and visit the cemetery. All the others will be leaving soon, and by the request of Rin Miya and Lily Meyer, we have granted you some time.”

My mouth, left open for a half second to digest her words, grew into a smile. I couldn’t believe I was given this opportunity.

“Okay! I appreciate this!”

Thanks Lily, thanks Rin! I thought. Those two probably vouched for me so much that Mila’s mother eventually gave in, but this was my chance to pay my respect. Grabbing my coat and the store keys, I wasted no time in getting ready to leave. Sesame watched on as I quickly peeked at his bowl to ensure he had enough to eat until I got back. Then, I burst out of the store and down the street, but not without making a small detour.

I turned a corner to stop by at a flower shop. I laid my eyes on a small bouquet of white amaryllis - the same flowers I bought her when we first dated back in high school.

“That’ll be thirty don,” the flower lady handed out her palm, and I gave her my cash.

“Thanks ma’am!”

“Hey wait, what about your change-”

“Keep it!”

Darting out of the shop to catch a taxi right on the side of the road, I wrapped one side of my coat over the flowers as an extra layer of protection. Within a minute, a yellow cab pulled over, letting me in. Soon, I had finally arrived at the cemetery which Lily texted me the address of.

“Thanks!” I hopped out after giving the driver my money and met up with Mrs. Tren who was waiting for me at the entrance, which featured a small white wooden gate.

“Follow me,” she instructed after noticing the flowers I had. “The others have left already; it’ll just be you two.”

I quietly observed the cemetery while we trudged along the tall grass and dirt trail. Rows and columns of other tombstones surrounded us from all sides, but I could easily tell which one was hers thanks to the recent gifts and flowers.

“We’re here. Take your time,” Mrs. Tren walked away as soon as we stopped in front of Mila’s grave, and I bowed at her while she departed.

Finally, besides the chirping birds flying in circles against the wind above us, it was just us. I dropped down and crossed my legs, letting my arms hold my backside up. The tombstone was about your average size: no bigger than my own torso. Flowers decorated the entire grave, and I could still pick out the splash stains on the ground and the dirt from the tears of those who were here before me.

I took a deep breath; still repeating Mila’s words in my mind like they were spoken just yesterday:

“Perhaps that arrogance of yours turned into clumsiness instead… with a tint of kindness.”

One after another, my own tears began soaking up the dirt in front of me. I did my best to avoid crying. Just being able to patch things up with her and for her to accept my apology - I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

“You’re a liar,” I started. “You should’ve just let me help you with a kidney transplant if you truly didn’t have any donors.”

Flushes of wind ruffled my hair while I placed the bouquet next to all the other flowers. Since mine was heavier, the wind wasn’t enough to blow it away.

“Well,” I reached into my coat pocket and took out the letter. “It would’ve been nice if you managed to read this.”

I squeezed my eyes shut, letting the rest of my tears drag against my cheeks thanks to the wind. “I’ll read this to you right now instead.”

Ripping one side of the envelope, I reached in to take the letter out -

“Wait, this isn’t the letter…”

Instead of my old 5-year-old letter, a small postcard fell out instead, almost blowing away with the wind before I caught it with my fingers.

“What is this?!”

The front of the white card featured handwriting done in red ink:

“Please meet me at Febai College at 10 PM.

Top floor of the tower.”

- Rin

“Rin…?” I muttered under my breath. Despite the envelope clearly being the one I sent 5 years ago, why was Rin’s card in here instead of my letter to Mila?

Wait, so that’s why the letter seal looked new! I thought and stood up.

After holding in my breath for another half-minute, I finished the rest of my speech: “Mila… thanks a lot for forgiving me and letting me become your friend. I didn’t manage to find that letter for you to read before you left, but I’m just glad we were able to smile together again. If you don’t mind, I’ll be coming back to visit you once in a while.”

I brushed the dirt off my legs, shoved the postcard into my pockets, and zipped up my coat.

I wonder what Rin wants…

Both on the bus and back at the café, she was in a hurry to leave; perhaps this time, she wanted to patch things up fully with me to ensure it would no longer be awkward in the future, if we ever encountered each other.

Yeah, maybe that’s it. She wants to still be friends, and wants closure on the state of our relationship.

A shiver slid down my spine as that thought flowed through my mind. The wind, which had already ruined my hair, continued blowing against my face as if wanting me to leave.


I turned to find Lily, looking as small as a pixel from my view at the edge of the cemetery, waving her hand. I waved back and began my leave from Mila’s grave.

“Until next time, Mila.”

Walking through the cemetery to Lily, I couldn’t help but hold my chest, worried about the confrontation with Rin.

But which day did she want me to come to that tower?

I caressed my chin, which probably made me look like a distracted fool.

“Something still on your mind?” Lily had a hand against her hip, watching me be deep in thought.

“Nah, don’t worry about it,” I replied. “Anyways, why are you still here?”

Even though she usually wore black lipstick, not a single spec of makeup was on her face today. It was the first thing I noticed, making me almost forget the card from Rin.

“Hey Kai,” she glanced down, avoiding my gaze. “I need to tell you something important.”

Hmm? I tilted my head at her, leaning in to peek at her embarrassed face. Her cheeks flushed red, and she hid her lips within her mouth. Is… is she planning to confess or something?

Upon that thought, I widened my eyes and stepped back. For the next short while, a series of thoughts boggled my mind, causing me to internally panic like a kid:

Shoot, I honestly don’t want to hurt her feelings… but I still like Rin! I can’t forget about her just yet! And I also planned to take up Eleanor’s marriage proposal! Fuck, what do I do?! I’m bad at rejecting people!

A long eerie silence filled the air between us, and we both looked away from each other. Squeezing my eyes shut, I had to break the silence somehow:

“S-Sorry, Lily,” I replied, waving my hand in front of my chest. “I just can’t like you right-”

“I’d like to quit working at Muller’s Blend.”

I stared at her with my jaw open and a drop of sweat flowing down my forehead.